A case for reparations?

broken windows theory?

I ended my previous post with the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…..” Yet many of the same men who signed that document “owned” slaves.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a very long article for The Atlantic Magazine entitled The Case For Reparations. It begins thus: “And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing today.” Deuteronomy 15: 12–15.

It ends thus: “In 2011, Bank of America agreed to pay $355 million to settle charges of discrimination against its Countrywide unit. The following year, Wells Fargo settled its discrimination suit for more than $175 million. But the damage had been done. In 2009, half the properties in Baltimore whose owners had been granted loans by Wells Fargo between 2005 and 2008 were vacant; 71 percent of these properties were in predominantly black neighborhoods.”

So, he starts with a passage from the Old Testament that lays out some commandments from God to the people of Israel about how to treat a “brother” who is indentured to you. Just as God redeemed the Israelites from bondage, the Hebrew believer was to mimic that redemption in their behavior. Good, great even, that Mr. Coates has such respect for the Bible that he builds his case for reparations on it. Or does he? He starts with a biblical admonition and ends with an economic settlement statement. I am going to present quite a lot of his argument here, so this will be a very long post. Most of the word-count in his article is personal stories of enslaved, disenfranchised or cheated black Americans. That makes sense, because there is no better way to build a rapport between people than sharing individual stories. Individual stories are more likely to connect emotionally than statistics or polemics. I will come back to that point, but REMEMBER THAT AS YOU READ. My commentary comes after his quotes.

“The lives of black Americans are better than they were half a century ago. The humiliation of whites only signs are gone. Rates of black poverty have decreased. Black teen-pregnancy rates are at record lows—and the gap between black and white teen-pregnancy rates has shrunk significantly. But such progress rests on a shaky foundation, and fault lines are everywhere. The income gap between black and white households is roughly the same today as it was in 1970. Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, studied children born from 1955 through 1970 and found that 4 percent of whites and 62 percent of blacks across America had been raised in poor neighborhoods. A generation later, the same study showed, virtually nothing had changed. And whereas whites born into affluent neighborhoods tended to remain in affluent neighborhoods, blacks tended to fall out of them.

“This is not surprising. Black families, regardless of income, are significantly less wealthy than white families. The Pew Research Center estimates that white households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households, and that whereas only 15 percent of whites have zero or negative wealth, more than a third of blacks do. Effectively, the black family in America is working without a safety net. When financial calamity strike—a medical emergency, divorce, job loss—the fall is precipitous.

“And just as black families of all incomes remain handicapped by a lack of wealth, so too do they remain handicapped by their restricted choice of neighborhood. Black people with upper-middle-class incomes do not generally live in upper-middle-class neighborhoods. Sharkey’s research shows that black families making $100,000 typically live in the kinds of neighborhoods inhabited by white families making $30,000. “Blacks and whites inhabit such different neighborhoods,” Sharkey writes, “that it is not possible to compare the economic outcomes of black and white children.”

“Even seeming evidence of progress withers under harsh light. In 2012, the Manhattan Institute cheerily noted that segregation had declined since the 1960s. And yet African Americans still remained—by far—the most segregated ethnic group in the country. With segregation, with the isolation of the injured and the robbed, comes the concentration of disadvantage. An unsegregated America might see poverty, and all its effects, spread across the country with no particular bias toward skin color. Instead, the concentration of poverty has been paired with a concentration of melanin.

“One thread of thinking in the African American community holds that these depressing numbers partially stem from cultural pathologies that can be altered through individual grit and exceptionally good behavior. (In 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, responding to violence among young black males, put the blame on the family: “Too many men making too many babies they don’t want to take care of, and then we end up dealing with your children.” Nutter turned to those presumably fatherless babies: “Pull your pants up and buy a belt, because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”) The thread is as old as black politics itself. It is also wrong. The kind of trenchant racism to which black people have persistently been subjected can never be defeated by making its victims more respectable. The essence of American racism is disrespect. And in the wake of the grim numbers, we see the grim inheritance.

“In 1783, the freedwoman Belinda Royall petitioned the commonwealth of Massachusetts for reparations. Belinda had been born in modern-day Ghana. She was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery. She endured the Middle Passage and 50 years of enslavement at the hands of Isaac Royall and his son. But the junior Royall, a British loyalist, fled the country during the Revolution. Belinda, now free after half a century of labor, beseeched the nascent Massachusetts legislature: Belinda Royall was granted a pension of 15 pounds and 12 shillings, to be paid out of the estate of Isaac Royall—one of the earliest successful attempts to petition for reparations. At the time, black people in America had endured more than 150 years of enslavement, and the idea that they might be owed something in return was, if not the national consensus, at least not outrageous.

“As the historian Roy E. Finkenbine has documented, at the dawn of this country, black reparations were actively considered and often effected. Quakers in New York, New England, and Baltimore went so far as to make “membership contingent upon compensating one’s former slaves.” In 1782, the Quaker Robert Pleasants emancipated his 78 slaves, granted them 350 acres, and later built a school on their property and provided for their education. “The doing of this justice to the injured Africans,” wrote Pleasants, “would be an acceptable offering to him who ‘Rules in the kingdom of men.’

“For the past 25 years, Congressman John Conyers Jr., who represents the Detroit area, has marked every session of Congress by introducing a bill calling for a congressional study of slavery and its lingering effects as well as recommendations for “appropriate remedies.” A country curious about how reparations might actually work has an easy solution in Conyers’s bill, now called HR 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. We would support this bill, submit the question to study, and then assess the possible solutions. But we are not interested.

“That HR 40 has never—under either Democrats or Republicans—made it to the House floor suggests our concerns are rooted not in the impracticality of reparations but in something more existential. A crime that implicates the entire American people deserves its hearing in the legislative body that represents them. John Conyers’s HR 40 is the vehicle for that hearing. No one can know what would come out of such a debate. Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America. Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.

“Perhaps no statistic better illustrates the enduring legacy of our country’s shameful history of treating black people as sub-citizens, sub-Americans, and sub-humans than the wealth gap. Reparations would seek to close this chasm. But as surely as the creation of the wealth gap required the cooperation of every aspect of the society, bridging it will require the same. Black nationalists have always perceived something unmentionable about America that integrationists dare not acknowledge—that white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it.

“And so we must imagine a new country. Reparations—by which I mean the full acceptance of our collective biography and its consequences—is the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely. The recovering alcoholic may well have to live with his illness for the rest of his life. But at least he is not living a drunken lie. Reparations beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans. Won’t reparations divide us? Not any more than we are already divided. The wealth gap merely puts a number on something we feel but cannot say—that American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt. What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal.” My commentary now follows.

The two examples of reparations he provided in the article show how the actual injured party could be compensated by the person, or the estate of the person, who actually did the injuring. This is the biblical principle of restitution. Belinda Royall was granted her restitution from the estate of a person who was now an enemy of the administration, a far cry from the example set by Zaccheus in Luke 19:8, who voluntarily gave half his goods to the poor and offered to pay back four fold whatever he had stolen. Still, even forced restitution is not “reparations”, in the sense that the writer is arguing for. Now I cannot square the words of the Declaration of Independence with the actual treatment of slaves, or even with the concept of chattel slavery, and I agree that black Americans have been treated shabbily by all the institutions he mentions in the article (there were far more than I reprinted here), most of which were lending and real estate institutions. Doesn’t that sentence put me in favor of his concept of reparations?

No, because I would then have to agree with the principles he is espousing: Every aspect of American society “cooperated” in creating the “wealth gap” between black and white Americans (structural racism); The wealth gap is the statistic which best illustrates the “country’s” history of treating blacks as sub-human; Reparations would seek to close the gap; The wealth disparity between black and white Americans is evidence of “structural racism”, not the fruit of individual decisions; The best way to redress wrongs committed against a certain segment of the population—blacks—is seeking to take what never belonged to them in the first place from those who have not actually wronged them personally, directly, or otherwise, to begin with. What, then, is the difference between “reparations”, as he is calling for, and state-sponsored theft? The wealth gap is due to lots of factors, including defrauding, but will taking from one color and giving to another color, even assuming an equitable and valid method of taking could be thought of through HR 40 or it’s like, actually close the gap? We have to consider how a wealth gap actually comes to be. The wealthy strategically organize their money so that it will produce profit. Affluent people are more likely to allocate their money to financial assets such as stocks, bonds, and other investments which hold the possibility of capital appreciation. Those who are not wealthy are more likely to have their money in savings accounts and home ownership. This difference comprises the largest reason for the continuation of wealth inequality in America: the rich are accumulating more assets because they are investing in growth assets while the middle and working classes are just getting by. You might be tempted to say “if I was high income like the rich, I could afford to invest in growth assets too!”

I bought 100 shares of Amazon stock during 1997 for an average of $34/share, by allocating 10% of my paychecks. Amazon’s stock then split three times in quick succession, so my 100 shares would have grown to 1,200 shares. Had I not panicked about Y2K and sold my shares in 1999, my original investment would be worth about $2.3 million! Sad, for me, but true. My central objection to his arguments for reparations is simple: Only individuals can wrong other individuals, and therefore only individuals who did the wronging can make it right. He starts out with a biblical passage and ends with financial settlements. Both examples are restitution, in the biblical sense, and I agree with them, because in the Deuteronomy example, individual actions are involved, and in the bank settlements, individuals on the board of directors approved the fraudulent policies, and individuals had to approve the settlements. In the latter case, I don’t know who actually got the settlement money—it should have been those defrauded. Forced restitution can still be legitimate restitution. The Bible gives examples of criminals having to pay back victims, even from jail. The difference between what I call legitimate restitution and race reparations is that in the former, individuals or their estates are compensating those they defrauded or cheated, and the latter can’t even identify individuals on either side of the dishonest transactions!

My bottom line is this: Group guilt doesn’t exist. Any group, whether corporation, army or church, cannot do anything. The individuals within the group can. Guilt is not a feeling, it’s a judicial decision. You are guilty or are not, because you did something wrong or failed to do something right, not because of what you feel. Mr. Coates condemns “the country”, “white guilt”, “every aspect of American society”, even black politicians and economists who don’t agree with him. I am totally in favor of restitution and punishment for any white person who cheated a black person… or any person. The same for a black who cheated a black. Reparations, the way he sees them, represent the monetizing of guilty feelings, not of judicial guilt, because only individuals can be judicially guilty of a crime.


Behavioral finance and political calculus.

My last post raised a discipline called behavioral finance, specifically one of its concepts, prospect theory. Four other concepts described by behavioral finance that help explain human irrationality are: Confirmation bias shows that people tend to be more attentive toward new information which confirms a preconceived opinion or belief. Hindsight bias, on the other hand, explains why we might believe that, after the fact, the occurrence of an event was obvious. Herd behavior is our propensity for following the decisions of a large group, whether or not those decisions are rational. Overconfidence allows us to believe that we are better able to perform a certain action or task than we actually are. I applied prospect theory to the irrationality of arguing against objective truth, at least if you are living as if there is objective truth.

I think it’s equally bad, if not worse, to equate your political agenda with objective truth, rather than it being simply your opinion. Carl Trueman recently wrote, in The Gospel Coalition: “...it can be argued that, culturally speaking, Marx did win—because his vision of a society where everything’s political is our world. From cake-baking to what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, from the gendered membership of school sports teams to the ordination requirements of a church to the casting of an actor in a movie, everything has taken on universal political significance. This is now part of the intuitive way in which we all think about society—whether we’re on the right or the left. Once one side decides, for example, that the Boy Scouts needs to admit girls in order to break down gender inequalities, then those who oppose this change aren’t acting in a politically neutral way. They too are taking a political stand.” How did this happen? The latter four behavioral finance concepts, or biases, partly explain it. I could cite a number of examples of each of those biases in political headlines, but I think it’s more worthwhile to understand the forces and agendas behind the politicization of our world.

John Marini, author of Unmasking The Administrative State, has questioned the legitimacy of rule by experts, and exposed it as an attack on the constitutional system of the separation of powers, balances and checks, and accountability to the electorate. Marini points out that now we have achieved unwittingly something no previous crisis managed to accomplish. We have a clear opposition between populism and Progressiveness. The very accumulation of power in Washington has made it the favorite target of political ire. The American people can now decide between the Founders’ Constitution and the progressive—or “living”—Constitution. The latter, the doctrine of the Perfectionist Progressives, is reducible to rational control of human affairs, organized through the federal government, especially the non-elected parts, whether federal courts or executive agencies (which are under very limited control by the president). Central planning, like a socialist state.

The former, the Constitution and the real American Way, admits that governments do not create human rights—they only recognize or violate them. Where does the idea of human rights come from? “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…..” Sound familiar?

No objective truth? We’ll see.

There are those who say things like: “There is no objective truth. Everything is relative. There are no objective standards of beauty, value, right or wrong. There is only opinion and no truthful way of judging opinions.” These statements, taken together, form a “philosophy” labeled relativism, subjectivity or postmodernism. If my 40+ year career in psychology and financial planning has taught me anything, it’s that people will say anything, no matter how absurd or irrational (like those statements in quotes) until their own money is on the line. When their stated beliefs are almost certain to lose money, they can temporarily become, or try to become, rational.

In 1979, behavioral finance founders Kahneman and Tversky presented a concept called prospect theory. Prospect theory holds that people tend to value gains and losses differently from one another, and suggests that losses hit us harder. There is a greater emotional impact associated with a loss than with an equivalent gain. As an example, consider how you may react to the following two scenarios: 1) you win $50, 2) you win $100, then you lose $50. Either way, you end up ahead $50, but the pain of the loss is greater than the pure gain. Lets apply this and another principle of behavior to the person who insists there’s no objective truth, whom I’ll call doubter. Cognitive Dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values simultaneously (Festinger, 1957). Typically it is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person. Note how almost everything in this paragraph contradicts doubter’s assertion that there’s no objective truth. If you presented the $50 scenarios to doubter, and assured him he would really get the money, it doesn’t matter which he would prefer, because by choosing either one, he is admitting that the $50 is real and has value. That fact just caused cognitive dissonance, because he is simultaneously holding the belief that there’s no objective reality while admitting he would value ending up with $50, which is objective reality. Even the very definition of cognitive dissonance admits to objective reality, since if two beliefs are contradictory and there’s evidence for one of them, the other is likely to be false. That’s objectivity. The existence of evidence itself contradicts subjectivity.

My favorite real world example of debunking relativism was J. Gresham Machen, a theologian who founded Westminster seminary, teaching a course when one of his students loudly proclaimed “there’s no truth, everything is relative” in class. Machen paused, and asked, “do you absolutely believe that?” Ignoring the fact that the word “absolutely” contradicts his assertion, the student blundered ahead. “I certainly do.” Machen’s response: “Then I’m giving you a failing grade.” The student spluttered, “you can’t do that, I have high scores.” Machen pointed out that in a world without objective truth, his scores were meaningless.

Going back to the finance example, give doubter the following choice: I will trade you a certain multiple of stock value for all the money you have saved (ignoring the obvious that if he’s saved money, he must believe in objective reality). You can have either twice the value of your savings in Amazon stock, or three times the value in Microsoft stock. You can have a full day to decide. Which would you take? I guarantee you, mr. there’s no objective reality would be checking P/E ratios, growth history, analysts’ reports. You don’t even need to know about prospect theory or cognitive dissonance.

A friend of mine, who firmly believes that we are all god, would argue that doubter’s belief in his money only proves that he is under the illusion that the material world is real. She would say that human beings don’t perceive the true reality of the universe. Okay, but she still lives mainly off her investments.

4 Teachings of Jesus That His Followers (Almost) Never Take Seriously.

That headline begins yet another diatribe analysis by a Huffpost contributor, Brandan Robertson, whose bio is Cultural Commentator, Activist, Pastor, and Author of “Our Witness: The Unheard Stories of LGBT+ Christians”. In the interest of full disclosure, I am somewhat prejudiced against Huffpost, and LGBT activists. However, he says he’s a Christian in good standing with Jesus Christ, so I will restrict myself to presenting his own words, as well as my opinion about what is left out and what is inaccurate. My commentary is in bold. So are his headlines.

He says: “One of the most transformative periods in my faith was when I took time to re-read the Gospels of the New Testament and get reacquainted with Jesus’ himself, in his own words. I have compiled a short list of 4 clear teachings of Jesus that most of us who exist within Evangelicalism have either never heard, refuse to acknowledge, or believe the exact opposite of.” He says “most of us” to create some kind of solidarity, while simultaneously criticizing the majority of believers as either being ignorant of Jesus’ words, or deliberately opposing them. How does he know what percentage of evangelicals heed or fail to heed Jesus’ words? As for “clear teachings”, it remains to be seen to whom they are clear and how he applies them.

1. Jesus, not the Bible, is God’s living and active Word that brings life. “You don’t have His word living in you, because you don’t believe the One He sent. You study the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.”– John 5:39-40 HCSB. “The problem is that a faith that is rooted in the Scripture alone is not sustainable. It will dry up and wither on the vine. While the Bible is an important and authoritative guide for Christian faith and practice, it isn’t the foundation or center of our faith- Jesus is. But in order to maintain a vibrant and living faith, we must not make the Bible our substitute for communion with the living Word of God.” Okay, I agree that Jesus Christ is the living and active Word, and that a faith rooted in scripture instead of Christ will wither. But is he implying that the Bible is not also the word of God? Let’s consider whom Jesus was addressing in his quoted passage. In the passages that preceded his quotes, Jesus was speaking to “the Jews”, specifically Pharisees who were disputing with him for breaking the sabbath by healing a man who was paralyzed. If Robertson is trying to use that quote to speak to fellow believers, it’s an odd choice of example.

2. The only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is through DOING the will of God. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 ESV. “An expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?””What is written in the law?” He asked him. “How do you read it?” He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” You’ve answered correctly,” He told him. “Do this and you will live.”– Luke 10: 25-28 HCSB. “We are saved by faith alone, apart from works!” “This is a very popular Protestant catch phrase. The doctrine of sola fide (faith alone) was developed by the Reformers in response to the Roman Catholic Churches corrupted teachings….” This is misleading. Jesus’ brother James explains: So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. – James 2:17-18. “Sola fide” does mean that works are irrelevant. Salvation IS by faith alone, “so that none may boast”, but the changed heart that answers the call of Jesus Christ includes the desire to mimic Jesus. A truly saved person WILL want to do the will of God. Once again, we have to consider whom Jesus was addressing. He was addressing a Jewish lawyer who was testing Him. Was the lawyer sincerely asking, or trying to trip Jesus up? When Jesus said, “do this and you will live”, was He really saying you will be saved if you follow those two commandments? Doubtful, since Jesus knew his heart was not right….or he wouldn’t have been testing Him.

3. Condemnation isn’t Jesus’ style.I have not come to condemn the world, but to save it.” John 3:17 ESV. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”– John 8:11 ESV. “Many modern day Evangelical preachers spend a lot of time talking about the kinds of people that God is opposed to and who he condemns.” Yeah, they do, and often they aren’t even right, and some are committing the same sins. However, Jesus had plenty of words of condemnation, though not for repentant sinners. He called the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones” and “hypocrites” and “blind guides.” He chased the money changers out of the Temple with a whip of cords He made, calling them robbers and such. It is not accurate to say “condemnation isn’t Jesus’ style.” The parable of the unrepentant Pharisee vs. the sinner throwing himself on God’s mercy is more appropriate. So Brandan, are YOU repentant?

4. You’re supposed to sacrifice yourself and speak words of blessings for those you disagree with the most. “Love Your Enemies and Bless Those Who Persecute You” Matthew 5:44 ESV. “It seems like every week there is a new major controversy taking place within the Church. Most of the time, the situation revolves around one group of Christians disagreeing with another and then taking to the internet to write slanderous posts about the other.” This teaching is true enough, and nothing is harder. But to say “every week there is a new major controversy” is really about you as much as it is about the unnamed controversies. I think you should define “controversy”. Do you mean disagreement over the meaning or application of particular verses, sincere seeking of better understanding, or a real mess, like sexual abuse?

He claims to present four “clear teachings” as headlines, and if they are clear to him, they’re a lot less clear to me. The only one I agree with, the way he states them, is #4. Even there, he follows up with a questionable example and over generalization. I will leave it up to the reader how clear his interpretation of Jesus’ teachings are, and whether his intent is to teach, or subvert.

With one hand on my wallet, the other over my mouth. Polspeak.

High-end

Just don’t get the hands confused, I wouldn’t want you to swallow your wallet (though the Democrats have proposed a string attached to it, so they could pull it back out). What prompted this title? E. Warren, aka Pocahontas, (sorry, couldn’t resist) justified getting rid of the electoral college by saying “every vote should count.”

Why? If you voted for a candidate that lost, would your vote “count”? Not once the election is over! I was going to title this post “With one hand on my wallet and the other on the trigger”, but these days even making a joke like that can get you escorted off the plane….or deplatformed. Beware “moral high ground” soundbites, like “every vote should count.” That is political speak–Polspeak— for “this is a really bad idea that will cost you in the long run”–the one hand on my wallet part–and “if you knew what this is diverting your attention from you would heave”–the other hand over my mouth part.

Another example that comes to mind: Former Surgeon General under Clinton, Jocelyn Elders, justifying aborting children by her famous Polspeak “every child a wanted child”, though it rolled out of her mouth in a southern-ish drawl, “everryy cha’ll a wanted cha’ll”. Behind every Polspeak, there’s a corresponding uncomfortable truth lurking. Behind “every child a wanted child” is “kill the ones that aren’t wanted, at least right now.” Behind “every vote should count” is “unless your vote is deplorable.” Behind the “final solution” is gas chambers and crematoriums. Behind “high end” is a mandrill’s butt.

In fact, let’s leave it at that.

Welcome to the United States of L.A. and N.Y.C.

2016 Presidential election by county…

Headline from the Babylon Bee: Candidates Propose Changes To Fix Flaw In Constitution That Allows Republicans To Be Elected.

“Sure”, say the geniuses of Los Angeles and New York city, “let’s get rid of the Electoral College”, so we can decide the fate of the whole country. Hillary Clinton i.e. Democrats, garnered 2,864,974 more total votes in the 2016 presidential election than Donald Trump, i.e. Republicans, BUT LOST THE ELECTION! It’s unfair, a crime even.

As if the county by county electoral map above is not enough, let’s consider the two most populous metropolitan areas in the country, Los Angeles and New York. The combined popular vote differential in those two metros was: 3,076,093 more for D than R. That’s 211,119 more than the number of national votes that D had over R. Without the Electoral College, Los Angeles and New York metro would have decided the national presidential election!

From National Review: Elizabeth Warren has joined a growing chorus within the Democratic party in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Speaking at a forum in Mississippi on Monday night, Warren said that she hoped to ensure that “every vote matters” and proposed that “the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College.” Indeed, no sooner has the Democratic party lost control of an institution that it had assumed it would retain in perpetuity than that institution has been denounced as retrograde and unfair. In the past year alone, this impulse has led to calls for the abolition or reinvention of the Senate, the Supreme Court, and more.

Up until now, I have criticized policies of either political party that seemed to me impractical, foolish or damaging, and have satirized the politicians who promulgated these bad ideas. Sure, almost all the bad policies were from Democrats, but that’s not my problem, that’s theirs. However, this call to abolish the Electoral College, under the incredibly hypocritical statement “every vote matters”, when clearly that means only votes for democrats, from a senator who has embraced reparations for slavery, universal child care, claiming Cherokee ancestry and has been in and around politics long enough to know why the electoral college exists. To her and others who propose fundamental changes in our Constitution in order to protect their own power, I hereby call them traitors. That headline from the Babylon Bee was satirical, and serious at the same time. The spirit of totalitarianism is alive and abides in those traitorous hypocrites.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget Nancy Pelosi, who says “we must lower the voting age to 16.” Lowering the voting age to 18 argument went, “these kids of 18 are being drafted to fight in Vietnam, but have no right to vote?” I served with a lot of those 18 year olds. You know how they say today, of retired people, “70 is the new 50”? Well, back then 18 was as mature as 24 is today. There was no such thing as “adulting”. Just saying.

Hate, hate, hate, what a business model!

Because all “right wing haters” are white…

Over the decades, the SPLC basically made the American philosopher Eric Hoffer’s famous line about organizational degeneracy its strategic plan: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket.” Originally founded as a civil-rights group in 1971 and gaining fame for its campaign to bankrupt the Ku Klux Klan, the SPLC shifted to a catch-all “anti-hate” group that widened its definition of bigotry to encompass more and more people as the Klan faded as a threat. So begins The National Review’s Rich Lowry’s op-ed in the New York Post, March 19, 2019. He continues in this vein, and I agree with every word:

It used the complicity or credulousness of the media in repeating its designations to punish its ideological enemies and engage in prodigious fundraising. It raised $50 million a year and built an endowment of more than $300 million. Imagine a left-wing outfit with the same shoddy standards as Sen. Joe McCarthy but with a better business sense. The SPLC never sees honest disagreement over contentious issues if it can see “hate” instead. It named the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom hate groups for opposing gay marriage. It designated perfectly respectable restrictionist ­immigration groups like the Center for Immigration Studies for the offense of favoring less immigration. It labeled the American ­Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers as complicit in “male supremacy.”

Not only the SPLC, but even the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation league (ADL) wants to get into the act (of adopting the business model racket of linking every bad thing to hate=right wing=white supremacy). This is a tweet from tweety-bird Ilhan Omar sent to MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin as he reported on a proposed hearing the House Judiciary Committee wants to call to address hate crimes.: “It’s overdue! Far-right extremists were linked to every extremist murder in the U.S. last year, including the Tree of Life and Parkland shootings. They are not operating in a vacuum. This is a crisis and it deserves national attention.” In a follow up tweet to this hyperbolic divisiveness the Congresswoman who traffics in defaming Jews on the regular offers up a link to a piece from the Anti Defamation League. The following are examples of crimes that the ADL is trying to pin on “right-wing, white extremism: It’s a long list, but very educational about the “destroy whiteness” agenda. Is “whiteness” really a thing? See my previous post.

Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018The school itself was not a likely white supremacist target, nor did Cruz seem to target his victims by race, religion or ethnicity. However, little evidence has so far emerged to suggest that the MSDHS shooting spree itself was conducted as a white supremacist attack. In the end, however, it is not clear to what extent Cruz’s white supremacist beliefs may have played a role in the killings. Because of this uncertainty, Cruz’s killings have been listed here as non-ideological. This is the lead example in the report, and one Omar felt the need to note in her tweet. Non-Ideological, but listed as proof of right-wing extremism all the same.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 27, 2018: Robert Bowers opened fire inside a synagogue killing 11. What the report fails to note is that Bowers despised President Trump, and his violence was apparently inspired by the President’s support of Israel and Jewish citizens. This places Bowers in a camp much closer to Ilhan Omar.

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, March 12, 2018: Corey Johnson, 17, killed a 13-year-old and severely injured two others in a stabbing spree: In the year before the attack he had become interested in radical Islam (and had even been reported to the FBI by local law enforcement). After his arrest, Johnson reportedly told investigators he had stabbed his victims “because of his Muslim faith”.
— Is Ilhan Omar actually comfortable calling those who murder in the name of their Muslim faith “right-wing extremists”?! That could explain quite a bit.

Nashville, Tennessee, April 22, 2018Travis Reinking opened fire inside a Waffle House, killing four: Reinking also has a serious history of mental illness and the shooting appears to have been non-ideological in nature; he has been ruled incompetent to stand trial.
— Non-Ideological, and attributed to mental illness, but still tabulated here.

Sumter, South Carolina, August 11, 2018: Demetrius Alexander Brown, a self-proclaimed Moorish sovereign citizen, was arrested for the fatal shooting of Sharmine Pack following a dispute about a vehicle sale at an auto repair shop.
— Is violence over a car sale “extremist violence”? Brown was affiliated with the Moorish Sovereign Citizens, a group that declares they are African society members with no allegiance to state and federal rules of law. In other words, they are Black Nationalists.

Robstown, Texas, July 27, 2018: Richard Starry shot and killed four relatives at a local nursing center and at his home in an apparent act of domestic violence before killing himself. According to local media, Starry had been a member of a white supremacist group while in prison.
— The ADL recognizes this as a domestic violence situation, but since he was a member of the group they chalk that up statistically

Abingdon, Virginia, May 4, 2018: Roger Melvin Tackett was charged with first degree murder and other crimes after fatally shooting an acquaintance following a dispute.
— Okay, so how was this “right-wing extremism” exactly?
According to police, Tackett has multiple white supremacist tattoos.
— Ah, there it is. So we are not actually tabulating incidents any longer, just any tangential evidence will do

Dothan, Alabama, June 4, 2018: James Mathis, a member of the Georgia-based white supremacist prison gang Ghostface Gangsters, and his wife, Amanda Oakes, allegedly killed their six-month-old son and put his body in a freezer in a hotel room.
— I do not even know how this manages to qualify.

Athens, Georgia, May 11, 2018: Following a family argument, Malachi Qaadir Dorns, 19, stabbed his mother and older brother multiple times, wounding his mother and killing his brother. In an earlier arrest, Dornss told police that he was a sovereign citizen.
— Domestic violence…again, but he tried to dodge responsibility via nationalism, we guess???

Locust Grove, Georgia, February 19, 2018: Tierre Guthrie, a Moorish sovereign citizen, shot and killed a Locust Grove police officer when the officer and two Henry County sheriff’s deputies tried to take Guthrie into custody for a failure to appear warrant. Both deputies were wounded but survived. Guthrie, who was himself shot four times in the firefight, died at the scene.
— Another Black Nationalist we will pretend is white right-wing extremism